Cubs Still Seen as the Favorite to Sign Jorge Soler … and Other News and Notes

Now that Gerardo Concepcion is signed, sealed and delivered, could Jorge Soler be next in line for a contract from the Cubs?

Jorge Soler is still on the Cubs’ radar and the now 20-year old outfielder (February 25) is still an important piece to the Cubs’ puzzle, that is once he can negotiate and sign with a team. According to a report from WEEI (Boston), the Red Sox are also interested but like most of the baseball industry, the Sox expect that the Cubs are likely to win the bidding war for Jorge Soler.

Jorge Soler has not established residency in the Dominican Republic, which is the first step in the process of him becoming eligible to sign a contract. There is still speculation that once he is eligible, Soler could be in for a rather large payday in the $27 million range.

Kevin Goldstein discussed the Gerardo Concepcion signing, Jorge Soler, and the Cubs’ system on WGN Radio following Monday’s exhibition game with the Reds. Goldstein thinks the Cubs are the “overwhelming favorite” to sign Jorge Soler.

Here’s the update …

According to a report from Cubs.com, Dale Sveum is not worried about Bryan LaHair’s slow start. Bryan LaHair is not where he wants to be at this point of the spring. Sveum mentioned the Cubs could send him down to minor league camp in order to get extra at bats if that’s what LaHair feels he needs. LaHair will receive consistent at bats over the last 10 games of the Cactus League schedule.

During an interview on Talkin’ Baseball (ESPN 1000) Saturday morning, Dave McKay discussed the Cubs’ baserunning plans for Spring Training. McKay explained that the team is being extremely aggressive early so they can gauge where the players skills are in terms of running the bases. That includes going from first to third as well as stealing bases. The coaching staff wants to find out now what the players can and cannot do before the games count.

According to a report from Cubs.com, Jason Jaramillo was able to take part in early drills Monday, including catching bullpens. Jaramillo started hitting Friday after being sidelined with quad issues. Jaramillo said he’s never been so happy to be catching bullpen sessions.

Dusty Baker is not going to offer any tips to Dale Sveum … and Sveum said he is not going to ask Baker for any advice.

Brett Jackson has been very impressive in camp so far this spring. Dale Sveum raved about his eighth inning single Sunday. Jackson will still likely begin the season in the I-Cubs’ outfield … unless the Cubs find a taker for Marlon Byrd.

The Cubs have hit seven batters in nine Spring Training games … and that number could increase. Chris Bosio is stressing the importance of pitching inside this spring.

With Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza and Paul Maholm taking three of the five spots in the starting rotation, that leaves Jeff Samardzija, Chris Volstad, Travis Wood, Randy Wells and Rodrigo Lopez competing for the two open spots.

Jed Hoyer said the Cubs will not have a six-man starting rotation.

Starlin Castro’s defense is still a work in progress according to the Sun-Times.

When asked about Matt Garza’s extension, Jed Hoyer said he’s not going to keep commenting on it.

According to Kevin Goldstein, Jorge Soler would become the top prospect in the Cubs system … if they are able to sign him. Goldstein ranked the Cubs’ system 20th in baseball and he told Brian Noonan and Andrea Darlas (WGN Radio) if they were to sign Soler the system would improve slightly to “middle-of-the-pack”.

WGN Radio has narrowed their search for the official WGN Radio Cubs Song of the 2012 season down to three entries. Click here to listen to finalists and to vote for your favorite.

… And last but not least, click here from more photos from Spring Training.

Well, there’s the update … and I’m sticking to it.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"When you play, play hard; when you work, don’t play at all." – Theodore Roosevelt